The amazing AFL career of Alex Johnson has finally come to an end after the Swans de-listed him on Friday.
Sydney offered an off-field role for next year but Johnson has his heart set on playing again.
“I am disappointed with the decision the club has made,” Johnson said in a statement issued by the Swans.
“But my passion still remains to play football at the highest level. I would like to thank the Sydney Swans Football Club for the opportunities they have given me over the past eight years.
“I have made life-long friends and lived out my childhood dream of playing AFL, including the premiership in 2012. Although it has been a very difficult last six years I will be forever grateful that the club stuck by me and gave me every opportunity to get back and play at the highest level.”
The 26-year-old made a remarkable comeback to football for the Round 20 win over Collingwood at the SCG but ruptured the ACL in his right knee (his good knee) the following week against Melbourne at the MCG.
It was 2136 days after he played in the 2012 Grand Final-winning team.
He underwent a sixth knee reconstruction and last week had shoulder surgery bringing the total of surgeries to 20.
“Alex has been an incredible servant of our club. He has shown unbelievable resilience and he’s a much-admired player among his teammates, coaches, staff and wider AFL community,” Swans coach John Longmire said.
“Alex’s perseverance and strength is among the best I’ve seen in the game and it was a real credit to him that he was able to fight his way back to playing after so many setbacks.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the reality is he faced another extended stint on the sideline. We explored the possibility of Alex staying involved with the club in a non-playing capacity, but he’s keen to explore other opportunities.
“We thank Alex for the invaluable contribution he made to our club and the impact he had on so many of us and wish him all the very best for the future.”